Posted: 8:40 a.m.
There is no question that Sunday's game against the Ravens is going to be decided by turnovers.
Since Marvin Lewis took over as head coach of the Bengals in 2003 with a resume that included six years as the Ravens defensive coordinator, the Bengals and Ravens have reached this point with an NFL-best 186 turnovers.
But the Bengals have just 16 of them this year and are on pace to finish with about 15 fewer than their average the past five seasons.
Lewis says that may mean as much offense as defense.
"When people are able to run the ball 40 times in the game, it makes a big difference."
Lewis says picks are more common than fumbles, but the Bengals have come up with eight each. And that's eight interceptions by eight different defenders. Cornerback Leon Hall, who tied the club's rookie interception record last season with five, is still looking for his first one.
The Ravens have caught the Bengals with 22 turnovers this season and mainly because they lead the NFL in time of possession, a great indicator of who has the lead when.
Plus, there is the experience factor. Ravens safety Ed Reed has 37 career interceptions. Four of the Bengals have made their first interception this year: Linebackers Keith Rivers and Brandon Johnson and safeties Marvin White and Corey Lynch. And two more, middle linebacker Dhani Jones and safety Chris Crocker, made their first as Bengals.